Thursday, 18 March 2010

Exclusive: First look at Fake London AW10

Last week I stayed up in to the wee hours of the morning reminiscing about growing up during the Britpop era as I watched Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace's documentary on Blur, No Distance Left To Run. It was tremendously shot and offered great insights in to the internal psychological dynamics of the band, particularly Damon Albarn's fascinating relationship with lead guitarist Graham Coxon. As I watched my mind began to wander back to that time and I can remember being introduced to the band by one of my older footballing buddies when I was ten. From that moment on I was a huge fan. I was a fan to the extent that I, a chubby little kid from Kent wanted to be Damon Albarn and would try to style my hair just like his and would spend ages in front of the mirror before leaving disgruntled and with a product laden fringe. I spent much of the Britpop era listening to The Great Escape while standing in front of the mirror willing myself to morph in to Damon. The music formed the backbone of a larger cultural movement, often described as Cool Britainia. The timing of the film coincided with the news that one of the fashion labels of choice for that era, Fake London is returning for AW10. Could next season see a return to the cool britannia days?

In its last incarnation, Fake London sold a sense of Englishness back to this little island by boldly using British heritage iconography such as the Union Jack, the British Bull Terrier and Bulldog, the crown and the Royal crest. At this time, these symbols were considered uncomfortable, kitsch or even outright politically incorrect, however, Fake London’s avant-garde approach paid off and duly saw it crowned the fashion label of choice for a Brit Pop generation. Fake London was the first brand to take cashmere away from the pearl and twinset brigade, making it cool for the first time and giving the material and industry a new lease of life. For example, the infamous Union Jack in recycled cashmere, individually handmade in the London atelier in more than five thousand unique combinations and worn by a huge number of Britpop icons. After a sabbatical, Fake London is re-launching with Italian partner, Italservices and founder Desiree Mejer resumes her role as Creative Director. I was fortunate enough to inspect the collection up close and to talk through the relaunched line with Desiree as I was afforded the online exclusive...

Subtle iconography. Three lions have been laser printed on to a beautiful Crombie.

The British cult brand is back with a bang for AW10 with their signature line of irreverent fashion but there is an undeniable sense that the brand has matured (just like the chaps in Blur obviously have as shown in the recent documentary). There is less focus on embellishment and more on strong individual pieces. The unmistakable Fake London handwriting and sense of humour is still there but now with a more sophisticated, modern look. As with previous collections, the AW10 line is full of messages and stories but these are less obvious than in previous seasons, the subtle elements of iconography run seamlessly throughout. One of my favourite pieces of the collection is the Crombie (above) and it contains all of the key elements of the brand. It fuses classic fabrics and cuts with the latest technology to laser cut the classic English football motif in such a delicate and sophisticated way.

Combinations of fabrics alongside subtle British messages.

The relaunched men's collection contains sixty pieces in total forming a complete offer with styles ranging from printed T- shirts, the revised and refreshed yet still iconic "recycled" Union Jack cashmere sweaters, luxurious tweeds, "Fake" fur and the signature luxury, heavy wool parkas. There is this quintessentially English way of mixing patterns together throughout the collection. The combinations of fabrics, particularly tweeds give this collection a sense of classic English dressing which I just love because you rarely see it in this country. Such clashing can create a riot of texture with all these elements coming together quite wonderfully.

One of the real standout pieces. The multi purpose jacket complete with built in backpack.

As well as the subtle icononography one of the fey facets of the brand are the combinations of fabrics and the mix of sportswear with classic tailoring element. There are elements of luxe sportswear with clever twists. The above jacket comes complete with an in built backpack and can be worn a myriad of different ways. Desiree confessed "I've always loved sports and performance wear. Everything has a function or multi functions and I enjoy experimenting with this alongside the traditional fabrics, such as tweed and cashmere." Each piece either has a dual or multi function which allows them to adapt to the demands, fancy and whims of the wearer or environment.

The more mature British iconography using luxury fabrics.

This premium collection has themes such as “Fake Modern”, “Buy British” and a small capsule denim range “Fake De Nimes” using Japanese fabrics. Fake explores British culture from all possible angles, from royalty to the working class, football to music, pub culture and of course the arts. The brand offers inventive and iconic garments with artisanal touches which are always created in an irreverent way with wit and humour at their core. As I wandered around the showroom and spoke to Desiree there can be little doubt that the brand has lost none of its sense of humour and playfulness. The collection certainly contains a number of pieces that will afford the odd wry smile and a double take. However, just as the consumers of the previous incarnation have grown that bit older this is a more sophisticated offering. I for one welcome the return of a more mature cool britannia...


joy said...

I gush over Fake London but why do their models always look so intimidating?


Bobbin Talk said...

Ohhh! WOW! I Love the sweaters, love the cool Brittania look! I am already in the summer mood, but wouldn't mind seeing guys wear any of these looks right now...

Style Salvage Steve said...

Joy: Ha, I don't find the models to be any more intimidating than other models but they do give off a certain attitude...but I like it.
Bobbin Talk: Although the collection is designed with AW10 in mind, many of the pieces, specifically the ones which see a real mix of traditional fabrics with lightweight sportswear fabrics could be worn all year round.

Anonymous said...

What a let down for what was once a pretty exciting brand. These photos could in all seriousness have been from the aw02 look book which although fresh at the time look tired and dated now. I see nothing here that shows the company has matured or developed. I genuinely got excited when I saw the title of this post but the photos quickly dampened that.

The ugly yet continual usage of the union jack and three lions ultimately mean this brand will only ever appeal to one demographic - white 'lads' down the pub watching the footie and drinking stella.

Matthew Spade said...

re above,

i can't see many "lads" wearing a jacket that is also a backpack when drinking a stella. just a though.

i think it feels much more polished and considered from the fake i remember. i think it's the way you wear it and make it your own, i guess you just have to be carely not to come off and a british fanatic.


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